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Profiled Homeowner Gets a Mortgage Modification

Wells Fargo has finally given a loan modification to a long-frustrated homeowner who had feared foreclosure. The good news for Suzanna Wertheim came after ProPublica told her story and she appeared on "The Rachel Maddow Show."

Wells Fargo finally gave a loan modification to a long frustrated homeowner—after we profiled her last week.

Suzanna Wertheim of California, the first in our series of profiled homeowners, spent over a year and a half trying to have her mortgage modified. She fell behind on her payments after a triple-punch of setbacks: she lost her job, learned she had terminal cancer and then was scammed by a company claiming it would lower her property taxes.

After ProPublica first contacted Wells Fargo about her, Wertheim received a call denying her a modification because of insufficient income. Then, after we published our story and Wertheim appeared on "The Rachel Maddow Show," Wells Fargo called her again. Wertheim feared bad news—that the bank was proceeding with foreclosure. Instead, Wells Fargo offered her a modification, bringing her payment down to an amount she says she can afford. Wertheim says the bank also eliminated over $20,000 in fees.

“We are pleased that we were able to offer Ms. Wertheim a loan modification,” said Jason Menke, a spokesman for Wells Fargo. “Depending on the situation a homeowner is currently facing, it can take some time to ensure that we have fully exhausted every option.”

Though the modification is not officially through the government program, it shares many of the same elements. Wertheim feels lucky. “I know there are a lot of other people like me,” she says. “I have no illusions that I’m the only one.”

Karen Weise

Karen Weise was an intern at ProPublica and a recipient of the Mark Felt Scholarship for Investigative Reporting at UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism.

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